Prerequisite Concepts

Updated: May 7, 2012

Applies To: System Center 2012 - Service Manager, System Center 2012 SP1 - Service Manager

The goal of System Center 2012 – Service Manager is to support IT service management in a broad sense. This includes implementing Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes, such as change management and incident management, and it can also include processes for other things, such as allocating resources from a private cloud.

Service Manager maintains a database. The database is the repository for nearly all configuration and management-related information in the System Center 2012 environment. With the System Center Cloud Services Process Pack, this information includes System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) resources such as virtual machine templates, virtual machine service templates, and so on, which are copied regularly from the VMM library into the database.

Service Manager provides its own Self-Service Portal. Using the information in the database, Service Manager can create a service catalog that shows the services available to a particular user. For example, a user wants to create a virtual machine in the group’s cloud. Instead of passing the request directly on to VMM as System Center 2012 - App Controller does, Service Manager starts a workflow to handle the request. The workflow contacts the user’s manager to get an approval for this request. If the request is approved, the workflow then starts a System Center 2012 - Orchestrator runbook.

A runbook is essentially another kind of workflow. While a Service Manager workflow is designed to implement ITIL-style processes, a runbook is designed to interact directly with system management tools. Orchestrator provides a range of pre-built features to interact with other technologies (including non-Microsoft management tools). Some of these are designed to interact with VMM. In this example, the runbook relies on Orchestrator features to ask VMM to create a new virtual machine in the user’s cloud in the organization. VMM checks that the request is within the user’s quota and the cloud’s capabilities, and then creates the virtual machine.